Issue 307
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Wouldn't it be all kinds of lovely if the things we truly enjoyed doing, also directly helped the planet? Take a bow November, and take a dip, Birmingham, as not one but four big-thinking spots are allowing Brummies to do exactly that. From pristine pints, to wallet-friendly winter wardrobes, here's your actually helpful help guide.

What is it? South Brum's first zero-waste supermarket, selling plastic-free products and sourcing as locally as possible. The little sister to the original Digbeth Clean Kilo, the team uses bulk dispensers to store everything from cashews to crisps, to cleaning products. There's fresh fruit and veg, as well as freezers full of utter essentials, like croissant and Yorkshire puds. Buy containers while you're there, or BYO jars, yoghurt pots and anything in between — as long as it's clean. 

What's in it for you? Because everything is sold by weight rather than being pre-packaged, you dictate precisely how much of each product you want. As well as looking entirely beautiful and feeling like a really nice place to be, the range at Clean Kilo includes plenty of organic and artisanal gear, which, based on what we've sampled so far, tastes hugely superior to our regular weekly shop. 

What's in it for the planet? Despite your fortnightly recycling and that keep cup, across the globe, it's reported that only 9% of the world's plastic is recycled. By using less of the stuff, and re-using the plastic you've already got, you can ultimately help to slow down its production. 

At 249 Mary Vale Road, Bournville Station is a 5 minute walk. Opening times
THE SHOP: 1869

What is it? A high-end charity shop from Action For Children, where the products are donated directly from big brands — think sample stock and last season's gear rather than second-hand sort of wears.

What's in it for you? Heavy discounts on the usual high street prices is a major, but even more than that, this is a beaut of a store, where the service and setup is right proper nice. And though we can't list the brands that have been known to donate to 1869, they are worthy of your considered attention.

What's in it for the planet? Action For Children provides support to disadvantaged young people across the UK. All of the proceeds raised in 1869 go towards helping the children the charity works with, which added up to £92,000 when the team ran similar pop-ups in Norwich and Watford. Plus, stock that could otherwise have a long life in landfills is instead finding a rather more happy home.

At Resorts World until the end of the year. Birmingham International is a twelve minute walk. Opening times

What is it? A positively plant-based breakfast and lunch spot with sustainable eating and your gut's health at the centre of everything the team does. Almost all the food is sourced from the UK and in the few instances where that isn't the case — apparently lemons just don't grow in Brum in November — are supplied by boats, not planes.

What's in it for you? The food will make you feel good. The team is happy for you to match and mix from their freshly prepped and pimped salads, veggies, grains and pulses but you can only go right if you opt for their street food box (£6). Think lightly crumbed and fried butternut squash with a katsu gravy, seasonal sesamed up greens and pickles, served on ancient whole grain, farro, the bite-filled, nutty love child of rice and barley. And the coffee, Hundred House, is an award-laden Shrewsbury roastery that is more in the habit of supplying Michelin-starred sorts than cafes open less than a month. Plant + Pulse use the coffee house's CoCo blend, which they believe to be the only beans actively designed to go with oat milk. 

What's in it for the planet? Eating sustainably — so locally and from sources that aren't running out — helps the environment, reducing carbon emissions and pressure on supply chains. It can also help keep money in the local community and improve rural-urban links. Plant + Pulse's containers are biodegradable and they pay First Mile to come and collect the gear after it's been used to ensure their containers are optimally recycled. So there's that too.

At 9 The Minories Arcade, town, B4 6AG. Opening times

What is it? Two stunning floors-worth of pub in the middle of the Great Western Arcade, with one almighty plot twist: the money made from Craddock's The Good Intent goes to charity.

What's in it for you? The total newbie has been ever so lovingly restored with exposed brickwork, church pews and smart finishes. The Good Intent functions like a regular pub with a strong selection of spirits, wines, lagers and ales. It's particularly good at the latter, being the fifth member of the Craddocks family, a Stourbridge-based brewery with four existing pubs. On the pumps? Golden Saxon and Crazy Sheep are your jumping-off points, plus a recent collab with planet-saving Toast called WasteD is getting a whole lotta lovin'.

What's in it for the planet?  After paying the usual costs of running a business — like rent, rates and salaries — all profits go to charities and good causes. For the first twelve months, the pub's proceeds are being directed by LoveBrum, an organisation that supports a mix of lesser-known local projects across the city like these, allocating funds following a monthly vote.

In the middle of the Great Western Arcade. Opening times


A number of hours into one of those Moseley nights, three pals came up with the sort of genius idea you always regret someone else actually acting on. Fast forward five years and the trio is launching the city's first dedicated board game café and bar, via Bristol and Cardiff editions. Chance & Counters opens in the Custard Factory tomorrow and brings with it more than 400 board games, from dice-based Sushi Roll to an owner big group fave, Pitch Deck — where you pitch stupid start-up ideas that could never work to your mates... And yet, the Brum edition is Chance & Counters' biggest yet. Open daily, there'll be Extract coffee, smoothies and brunching by day and beer, burgers and snacky sort of sides for the PM. Rotating craft beers will include plenty of familiar ferments, with Burning Soul and Dig Brew Co heavily in the mix. It's usually £5 to get yourself a four-hour slot on the tables, but until the end of 2019, it's totally free. Just be sure to book in around about here.


The de-icer season is upon us and whilst most sensible people are bundling themselves indoors before the cold can properly get a hold, we’re heading out for après-ski some 60-odd meters above ground level, minus the skiing bit. The terrace at Level 25 at The Cube has been decked out like the most pimping of grottos, with lanterns, blankets, snowy trees and twinkling lights. It's sharing platters on food and Veuve for supping, or festive cocktails, like a Chocolate orange espresso martini at two for £14. Open from November 23. The deets


Growing up with the steel and chemical plants of seventies Middlesborough for a view, it's easy to see how graphic designer and photographer, Peter Chadwick, got into brutalism. At his most comfortable around concrete car parks and the terse looking towers of everywhere from London to Belgrade, it was only a matter of time until he got around to a poster series starring everyone's favourite central library. Get yourself a print (from £28) by emailing Do so before December 2 and quote JohnMadinTBH for a 20% discount.
Venue: Sabai Sabai, 7 Waterloo Street, B2 5PG; website  
Choice: Red curry (£15.95) Chooser: Waiter

That Charles Dickens has got a lot to answer for. Okay, okay, he's got some pretty solid creds when it comes to wordsmithing but popularising the turkey in A Christmas Carol? Unforgivable. For a super flex menu with a turkey count of zero, our unofficial official antidote to the next month of claggy set menus is Sabai Sabai. You'll already have your go-to sort of list — chicken satay (£7.95), pad Thai (£13.95) and green curry (£14.95) is probably ours. And full of crunch and fragrance and freshness, these dishes do exactly what the skies full of rain have you wonting for. But we've also done some branching of late and found the sticky 'n' licky tamarind chicken wings on the
Christmas menu. Ohhh baby. Such a hit are these nibbles they're rumoured to be getting promoted to the main menu come 2020. But it's the red curry that's our wintry win right now. Like most of the curries at the Waterloo Street spot, you can try it with chicken, beef, duck, tofu or prawns. It's all about the plump, juicy crustaceans for us but whatever your main mood, the Thai sweet basil and coconut combo will heat you up and prepare you for the many meals over which you'll have no choice through to Jan. Order with coconut rice (£3.95) for maximum joy. Menu
Taking the elite spot when it comes to yuletide marketing, The Paper Dolls' Custard Factory two-dayer is on Saturday and Sunday from 11am, with 100+ makers to pick from.
Because being a comedian and podcaster just wasn't enough for him, Adam Buxton will be reading from his new book at The Old Rep on May 24. Show off. Tickets (£21.50)
Former Man Behind The Curtain head chef, Kray Treadwell, is lending his name to La Mariposa, a new Latin-American restaurant coming to the JQ. Keep your phone tuned to their Instagram for some pop-up previews, like one that's happening tonight.
Get both your gin and your jazz at MAC on December 13. A ticket (£30) gets you a cocktail, canapes, sharing platter, cheesecake and jazz, of course.
Right where The Bureau used to live, Brum's newest bar, Henman and Cooper, opens at midday tomorrow (Nov 22). As well as the usual, expect vegetable-infused cocktailing and a strong rooftop terrace game.
Hear from paste-up enigma, Foka Wolf, at the final Glug Birmingham of 2019, where he and three other creative sorts are speaking tonight. Though as he'll be in some sort of box, you probably leave no wiser about who he actually is. Tickets (£8.50)
The Irishman is released on to Netflix on Nov 27. But you really want to see Scorsese and the De Niro gang's new flick on the big screen, distraction-free, and Everyman is obligingly showing the 210-minuter daily. Times & tickets

"It is impossible to win gracefully at chess. No man has yet said "Mate!" in a voice which failed to sound to his opponent bitter, boastful and malicious."

A.A. Milne, Not That It Matters, 1919

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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Robb Sheppard

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